WHO SAYS we don't benefit from the casinos? The Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund, with a committee comprised of local elected officials looking on, has awarded $140,772.33 to all eight Mendocino County agencies that applied. According to Mr. Grim of the delighted Mendo CEO's office, fire districts usually get the money, but this year the money's spread around a little more.
THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE and the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office each received $39,637.06; the Hopland Fire Protection District received $13,795.69; the Long Valley Fire Protection District and the Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department each received $12,395.68; the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency received $3,500; and the Little Lake Fire Protection District received $2,800.
FOR YEARS the soporific PBS NewsHour often perked up with some fine reporting on NorCal from Spencer Michaels, an excellent reporter with 30 years at PBS and KQED-TV.
But PBS has announced the end of its San Francisco-based bureau and Michaels is outtathere.
We all hope he'll continue to report from this area somehow.
CONTROVERSIAL LAKE COUNTY Sheriff Frank Rivero didn't like the way the Lake County News was reporting on his serial, high profile hijinks so he stopped talking to them, even refusing to include Lake County News among his press release recipients. Lake County News sued, and now Lake County's taxpayers are on the hook for $110,990 in attorney’s fees for the on-line newspaper. Visiting judge J. Michael Byrne, ruling for Lake County News, stated the obvious: “It’s a reporter’s right to report the news without retaliation."
THE AVA lost a similar suit some years ago when the "liberals" on the Mendo Board of Supervisors retaliated against us for rightly pointing out their many deficiencies. We won a jury trial with the jury finding in less than an hour that we'd been the victims of lib thuggery, and leave it to the libs to use public cover and public money to do their dirty work for them. But we lost on appeal, which I believe was due to, well, it's over, we got screwed, and that was that.
PEOPLE WITH PILES OF MONEY that they don’t know what to do with because ordinary bank interest rates are essentially zero these days, mainly think that loaning it to someone at as high an interest rate as they can is the easiest way to make more money. And there are lots of middlemen and middlewomen out there who are always looking at creative, not to say very complicated and risky, ways of lending it out. At the same time, these monied people don’t want to take any risk; they know that the already fragile economy could tank at any minute and borrowers, who are only now starting to recover from the 2008 crash, could start defaulting in droves again.
LOCALLY there are several piles of money looking for people to loan it to. “Public banking” has become a popular idea among some local liberals and the remnant of the local “occupiers.” Others occasionally suggest that Mendo should do some local lending with the County’s “local agency investment fund.” And on June 11, the Board of Supervisors considered implementing a “PACE” (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program. A PACE program involves a homeowner borrowing money from a bank or other lending institution for energy or water conservation or solar energy upgrades and then paying it back through a special tax administrated by a specialty PACE contractor overseen by the County. In theory, the PACE program has lots of obvious benefits: It would create jobs for energy saving and solar companies, it would save some energy and money for homeowners, and it would reduce risks of loan defaults by enforcing the loan repayment with tax laws.
THE STICKLER in all of these programs is that Mendocino County would be burdened with administering something that is much more complicated than they seem. And if they’re such a great idea — local jobs, energy saving, money saving, low risk — why does the County have to be involved at all? Mendo already has more than it can handle with its outdated and obsolete parcel tax computer program and the PACE program would add a whole new layer of complication to it, even if the PACE contractor handles the tax assessments for the individual property owners who might apply. In particular the PACE program would have to carefully navigate the extremely complicated tax and bank loan system that’s already in place because most home and business owners already have outstanding loans from whoever for whatever and local property-parcel taxes are imposed under a conflicting layer of overlapping fire, school, water, cemetery, hospital, and other special districts that have built up over the years making keeping track of who owes what to whom for what into near-nightmares, not to mention delinquencies, late payments, bankruptcies, foreclosures, deaths, relatives, probate court, ownership disputes, inheritance disputes, etc.
THE UPSHOT? Mendo shouldn’t try to get into the banking business or the PACE program until and unless the program can be simplified and properly and fairly administered by an independent board and competent staff. Since that’s not likely to happen, we think Mendo should stay out of the money/banking/loan business, and instead put pressure on the local banks and credit unions to come up with ways to do what they already should do: make decent low interest loans to promising startups or small-business expansions (for example, by requesting regular status reports on their commercial loan programs to the Board).
HERE'S A STATEMENT OF REALITY we'll never hear from any elected person in this country. This is a question from Clare Daly, member of the Irish Parliament who represents Dublin North (Independent/No party affiliation) during Leaders’ Questions last week to Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny while President Obama was visiting Ireland for the G-8 conference.
I think it's important to take this opportunity to bring a bit of balance into the discussion surrounding the business of the US president and his wife here in Ireland, given the almost unprecedented slobbering over them that the nation has been exposed to over the last number of days. It's very hard to know which is worse, whether it's the outpouring of the Obamists themselves or the sycophantic falling over them by sections of the media and the political establishment. We've had separate and special news bulletins by the state broadcasting agency telling us what Michelle Obama and her daughters had for lunch in Dublin, but very little questioning of the fact that she was having lunch with Mr. Tax Exile himself. We had very little challenging of the fact that she's glad to be home, calling a country that she'd been in for less than a week “home” and that her husband has very tenuous links to. And of course the biggest irony of all, the protestations of Obama himself in his speech to children in Northern Ireland about peace. He said, “Those who choose the path of peace, I promise you that the United States of America will support you every step of the way. We will be the wind at your back.” Now I ask you, is this person going for the Hypocrite of the Century Award? Because we have to call things by their right names. The reality is that by any serious examination this man is a war criminal. He has just announced his decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition including the jihadists fueling the destabilization of that region and continuing to undermine secularism and better conditions for women. This is the man who is in essence stalling the Geneva peace talks by trying to broker enhanced leverage for the Syrian opposition by giving them arms and to hell with the thousands more who daily lose their lives or the tens of thousands more who are being displaced as this war goes on. This is the man who has facilitated a 200% increase in the use of drones which have killed thousands of people including hundreds of children. And you Taoiseach [Irish Prime Minister] are the one who has turned a blind eye on these activities. You have talked about the G-8 being an opportunity to showcase Ireland. But is it not a reality that you have showcased us as a nation of pimps, prostituting ourselves in return for a pat on the head? To be honest with you, we don't need you speculating this morning on whether you were going to deck the cabinet out in leprechaun hats decorated with a bit of styrofoam stars and stripes to really demonstrate our abject humiliation here. My question to you, Taoiseach, is as follows: What steps are you going to take to follow in the correct statements and the correct decisions of your colleagues who voted against the lifting of the arms embargo in relation to Syria? What steps are you going to take to ensure that no weapons for Syria are going to go through Shannon Airport in breach of our international laws of neutrality? What steps are you going to take to showcase this country not as a lap dog of US imperialism, but as an independent nation with an independent foreign policy which takes a lead in international diplomacy to outlaw the use of drones, the favorite method of extermination of your friend, Mr. Obama?”
The Irish Prime Minister didn’t respond directly but expressed his displeasure with Daly’s comments, saying, “I think your comments are disgraceful. I think they do down the pride of Irish people all over the world who are more than happy to see this island being host to the G8.”
And of course, I said nothing about the Northern Ireland peace process which Mr. Obama mentioned, a process which everybody supports but which is not one which gives you a license to do whatever you like anywhere else around the globe. There isn't much peace in Iraq where 26 people lost their lives yesterday. There isn't much peace in Afghanistan. There isn't much peace in Pakistan. And there certainly isn't much peace in Syria. The side I am on in Syria and the one I agree with is a statement by Oxfam. Oxfam said: Sending arms to the Syrian opposition will not create a level playing field. Instead, it further risks fueling an arms free for all where the victims are the civilians of Syria. Our experience tells us that the crisis will only drag on far longer and longer if arms are poured in. And that in essence is what the Americans have done here. I can only take from your non-answer to the question that you were asked, that you will take no steps to ensure that those arms will not be sent through Shannon in breach of our neutrality. You said here last week that no arms ever came through Shannon. How do you know that? No investigation has taken place. The reality is that in 2012 548 US planes landed in Shannon. How do you know what was on them if you have not examined them? Your Minister for Transport revealed in a parliamentary question that 239 civilian planes landed in Shannon where they sought permission because they were carrying munitions of war or dangerous goods on a civilian aircraft. What steps are you going to take to intervene in this situation? And the last point I will make is that people in this country are very fond of our American brothers and sisters. I think we stand far more shoulder to shoulder with them by making valid criticisms of their president who has broken his election promises, rather than just pimping this nation as a tax haven for their corporations. I'm sure the Americans would far prefer that their multinational corporations pay their taxes at home rather than offshore here so that they could develop their health care and so they would not be wasting money on arms being sent to slaughter people in other countries.
STATEMENT OF THE DAY: The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. — Edward Bernays, 1925
A READER SENDS ALONG an April article from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noting, “If you think it’s nuts in Northern California, look at this incident in Arkansas.”
Article appalls GOP leader; 2 quit posts. By Sarah D. Wire
The secretary of the Benton County Republican Party and her husband, a county GOP committee member, resigned Monday, days after placing an article in the organization’s newsletter calling for Arkansans to make “examples” of “turncoats” and “traitors” in the state Legislature who have “placed Arkansas firmly on the path to Socialism.” The article discusses the feasibility of shooting certain lawmakers and envisioned some as “bullet backstops.” The head of the County committee called the statements "abhorrent."
The Arkansas State police reviewed the matter but determined Monday that the newsletter article and a series of purportedly threatening emails written by Chris Nogy of Lowell to state lawmakers were not serious enough to warrant an investigation, nor did a social media message from a different person that referred to shooting House speaker Davy Carter that was also sent over the weekend.
The Republican Party of Benton County's April newsletter included an article that discussed shooting lawmakers who “step out of line.”
The article was written by Nogy, husband of the party's secretary, Leigh Nogy. In the article, titled “Scathing,” Chris Nogy wrote that he is frustrated by some Republican members who voted on a plan to use federal MedicAid money to purchase private health insurance for 250,000 poor people. He said approving the bill helped implement the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
“The Second Amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives,” Nogy wrote. "If we can't shoot them, we have to at least be firm in our threat to take immediate action against them politically, socially and civically if they screw up on something this big. Personally, I think a gun is quicker and more merciful, but hey, we can't.”
Known at the Capitol as the “private option” for Medicaid, the concept was one of the most contentious issues of the legislative session, pitting Republican legislators against one another over whether the state should willingly participate in the 2010 federal healthcare law that has remained divisive among Arkansans.
Benton County Party Chairman Tim Summers said by phone Monday that he asked for, and received, Chris and Leigh's resignations. A number listed for the Nogys in the phone book was no longer in service. “It reflected poorly on our county for that to come out,” Summers, a former lawmaker, said.
He said Chris Nogy did not have permission to insert the article in the newsletter. Summers said that as county chairman he should have reviewed the content of the newsletter before it was sent.
Summers called the article offensive and said “to suggest violence as a response to a vote of our elected legislators is simply abhorrent.”
Representative Sue Scott, R-Rogers, said Nogy also sent her two emails beyond the newsletter that referred to harming her and other legislators from Northwest Arkansas.
Scott was one of about 15 lawmakers who voted against legislation to create a framework for the private option but then voted to give the state Department of Human Services authority to spend money implementing the program.
She would not provide a reporter with a copy of the emails from Nogy. “I was scared, I'll be very honest with you. I'm just not used to this kind of response from anyone,” Scott said. “I had no idea someone would threaten me in such a manner and threaten my friends, my fellow legislators. We don't threaten to line people up and shoot them, it's not an adult way — it's not a Christian way — to handle our differences.”
Scott said she knew Nogy and his wife through the County party. “It was a big surprise, I couldn't believe it,” Scott said. “I was very surprised that he continued to write more.”
In a statement Monday, Arkansas State police spokesman Bill Sadler said state police had looked into the matter and didn't think it warranted further investigation.
“The state police has not developed any evidence that would substantiate a criminal investigation being opened,” Sadler said. “State police have also been in contact with the state representatives who were the subject of the comments and at this time there is no reason to believe their safety is presently compromised.”
Scott said she is satisfied with the reaction from state police. “If there was any need for me to continue to be concerned, I would think they would let me know about it. I trust that they would do that,” she said.
Also over the weekend a person who calls himself Seanonymous, using the micro-blogging website Twitter, referred to shooting Carter of Cabot. He called Carter “a very persuasive gun advocate. I'd like to buy a gun and shoot him with it.”
State police learned of the message when someone asked if the agency was investigating him. The man does not provide his real name.
Carter said he lost his temper in his response to the man on Twitter, “I'd rather him come here for an ass-kicking.”
He said Monday that he didn't feel threatened by the message. “I regret popping off like I did, but that's human nature,” Carter said. “I worry more about the members than I do myself. It just has no place in politics or society in general. That sort of bullying, intimidation, threatening nature has no place, and my instincts are to get angry about it and to get mad about it.”
Carter said he was told by police that the man is in California. He said they had no previous contact. The message sender later posted to Twitter that he meant to address the message toward Representative Nate Bell, R-Mena. He did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday.
Bell has received more than 10,000 comments on his Twitter account since he made a reference to the hunt for suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing last week. “I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a high-capacity magazine? #2A,” he wrote. Bell later apologized for the timing of his comment. Sadler said state police have not looked into messages sent to Bell nor have they been asked.